Washington County condemns BLM for Recapture Canyon closure, Blanding; calls for reopening

ST. GEORGE – The Washington County Commission is questioning the Bureau of Land Management’s closure of Recapture Canyon in San Juan County, the BLM’s delay in reopening the canyon and calling for the immediate reopening of Recapture Canyon.

San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldridge keeping the peace during the protest ride through Recapture Canyon. near Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Hyland, St. George News
San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldridge keeping the peace during the protest ride through Recapture Canyon. near Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Hyland, St. George News

In a resolution passed at a special meeting this week, the commission called on the BLM to recognize San Juan County’s right of way through Recapture Canyon and immediately lift the road’s closure.

“It’s just typical overreach,” Commissioner Alan Gardner said. “Transferring public lands to the counties would eliminate most of the problems.”

On May 10, more than 200 people gathered in Blanding to protest the BLM’s decision to restrict the off-highway vehicle use of trails through Recapture Canyon. The restrictions were put in place to allow archeological research in the area of dwellings and ancient artifacts.

To protest the closure, a group of riders took OHVs, all-terrain vehicles and horses through the canyon. The group included community members, sheriff’s office deputies, out-of-state protestors and San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman. Following the protest ride, BLM state director Juan Palma stated that the BLM would pursue legal action against the riders.

Read more: Blanding: OHV riders, militia protest BLM, ride through Recapture Canyon; STGnews Photo Gallery (UPDATED)

Since the protest, five people have been charged with operation of off-road vehicles on public lands and conspiracy. Lyman is among those being charged with these crimes.

More than 66 percent of land in Washington County is managed by federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S Forest Service and the National Park Service.

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  • Burton October 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Good job Washington county and Mr. Gardner! its about time people stand up to the BLM or the ” Bullys of land management”

  • Bender October 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Whiners. When you break the law in a civil disobedience exercise you can expect to be charged and tried. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_DeChristopher

  • Zonkerb October 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Is it legal to dance in Blanding.? Just asking. because if you dance in the city limits of St George the police department will respond with the Anti Dancing Swat Team. Your all invited to the Swastika flag raising at city hall

  • Todd Fallows October 31, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Recapture canyon is public land , not just for the locals. Unfortunately, some locals decided to construct a better road for ATVs. The BLM closed the area to motorized vehicles to protect ancient native artifacts. Anyone who follows the news should be aware of the horrific looting by the locals of these ancient sites. The BLM should protect this area from public land abusers and i only wish that all of the lawbreakerscould be punished.

  • Voice of reason October 31, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    And Washington County has a say in what goes on in San Juan county because. . . ?

  • Delong November 1, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Apparently none of these counties respect the rule of law unless it’s convenient for them. The Utah double standard is second to none.

  • Delong November 1, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Vote Cliven Bundy for Washington and Iron County Comission.

  • san juan county resident November 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I would like to thank the Washington and Iron County Commissioners for their support and for the resolution.

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